The Initiative for Peace and Human Rights

Founded on 24 January 1986, The Initiative for Peace and Human Rights was the oldest opposition group in East Germany, independent of the churches and the state. In the beginning, it had an organizational structure that had only about 30 members. The people involved in the Initiative included Bärbel Bohley, Werner Fischer, Peter Grimm, Ralf Hirsch, Gerd Poppe, Ulrike Poppe, Martin Böttger, Wolfgang Templin and Ibrahim Böhme. The Initiative campaigned for disarmament and demilitarization and condemned any type of authoritarian structure, violence and the exclusion of minorities and foreigners.

In January 1988, several members of the Initiative were arrested and later deported to the West. In November 1988, when Romanian leader Nicolae Ceaușescu was invited to visit East Germany, civil rights activists organized a Romanian evening at the Church of Gethsemane in East Berlin to draw attention to the violation of fundamental rights in Romania. Subsequently, several members of the Iniciative were placed under house arrest during Ceauşescu’s visit. On 11 March 1989, it became the first opposition group to expand across East Germany.


“Initiatives For Peace And Human Rights” in